Publisher celebrates 30 years in business

Author and publisher Sandra Saer
Author and publisher Sandra Saer

Author and publisher Sandra Saer has celebrated 30 years in the book industry, working as a one-man band.

A number of close friends, long-time colleagues, neighbours and family members joined Sandra for a reception at Gaskyns Café, in Queen Street, Arundel.

The information board and book table illustrating many of the highlights for SMH Books

The information board and book table illustrating many of the highlights for SMH Books

This double celebration last Friday marked both the official launch of Sandra’s children’s book, Star Sandwiches and Moon Custard, and her 30 years successfully publishing SMH Books, publicising and marketing the titles on her own.

Sandra, who lives in Arundel, compiled a board to illustrate many of the highlights for SMH. She announced that said she did not plan to publish any more books, just concentrate on her own writing.

Sandra said: “My career began with a thorough grounding in provincial journalism, which set me up for, among other things, the way to prepare and write press releases for the media, which would not find themselves immediately into the ‘WPB’ [waste paper basket].”

Poached from the Chester Chronicle to work at Chester Zoo, she was self-appointed, with the agreement of director Gerald Mottershead, to be the zoo’s first press and public relations officer.

Sandra explained: “This came about because a sea lion had disappeared from its enclosure and I sent out a story to media, which was used worldwide. In one year, I doubled the zoo’s gate takings.”

After years working as a PR consultant, broadcaster and publicist for the BBC, and major UK publishers, Sandra founded her own PR company, Macgregor Hastie Associates, but left this to bring up her four children.

After moving to West Sussex with the children, Sandra found she wanted to fill the gap when they left home for college, she founded SMH Books.

The first publication was Sandra’s book Coldwaltham: A Story of Three Hamlets and the list now contains Sussex memoirs, local and regional books, Christian-orientated titles and poetry anthologies.